You can never have enough of them anymore. If you hated the white school canvas shoe, here's a colourful way to outgrow it, says Ananya Revanna

From the “Plastics” with short tops and miniskirts to balding men on rusting Bajaj Honda bikes; thin, nerdy looking boys studying furiously to get into IIT to boys whistling at women from buses — a certain kind of footwear unites them all.

Bright pink, red, blue, yellow, green, they come in every possible colour. Skulls, the peace symbol, the Simpsons and Metallica are some motifs and designs printed and painted on them. Their laces are no less exciting, with hawkers quoting their best prices for strings of rainbow.

The past few years have been like a stroll down Canvas Lane. Every five feet and bang, a brightly coloured canvas shoe appears, sticking out like a clown at a funeral. But these oddballs don't just stick out, no.

They first make you curious, then they make you want to ‘experience' them and lastly comes the ‘They-Are-My-Best-Friends' phase and pure, raw addiction stage! The canvas craze (that went beyond the white Bata school pair) began a few years ago and now the city is home to connoisseurs of all kinds. Apoorva Tadepalli, an all-out canvas freak says she owns a collection of a black high top with blue and green lines and laces, black low top with the ‘All Star' logo, purple low tops with dinosaurs and dragons, white low top with flowers and cherries and a white high top with unicorns.

Noella Ferrao, a student, has three pairs. She modestly says, “I'm no great canvas connoisseur, I just like them a lot. One pair is plain black and red, the other is purple and the last one is purplish-orange with auto rickshaw drawings on them”.

Canvas novice Manya U. says, “I used to hate canvas shoes till about six months ago. I was shopping for floaters, just happened to see them and fell in love! I tried them on and bought them without a second thought. They are so comfortable that I wear nothing else but them now”.

Cool colours, funky laces

Suhas J., a self-proclaimed computer geek says, “When my dog chewed on my Converse I couldn't bear it. I actually stopped using the shoes for months!” This strange love/ hate relationship is something that seems to weld the bond between owner and shoe even stronger. Noella explains “The reason I like canvas shoes is because they come in cool colours, have different prints and layers, have funky laces , are less bulky when compared to most shoes, don't stink when they get drenched in the rain, look good with anything you wear, are extremely durable, give space for creativity and most importantly, are comfortable!”

Canvas shoes are usually equivalent to Converse these days. Or maybe Converse should be given its own ‘shoes status', since most people don't realise that it is just another brand like Bata or Liberty.

Sherwin Rodrigues says that he obviously prefers Converse over canvas because canvas shoes are for school kids.

At the peak of the Canvas Phenomenon (has it ended?) the comfort factor went out the door and the “cool” bug hit people hard and fast. Before they knew what they were doing they were picking up canvas shoes because their friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, role models owned a pair or two. Zuber Khan, a commerce student says, “I bought my first pair of Converse a few years ago in Dubai because all my friends had them. But I never wore them much and haven't taken them out for a while now. I never really liked them”.

Whether they are providing comfort to a rain drenched girl's feet, being a chew toy for a hyperactive dog or sitting under tonnes of other junk, they have a place in the modern home. “A person can never have too many pairs of canvas!” says Noella.